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Website Home Page Best Practices

We’ve moved well beyond the “welcome to my website” version of home pages. Users expect more.  By following home page best practices you make clear what people can find on your website. It should focus on your unique selling point. And, it should guide your visitors to your most important pages.

Make Clear Who You Are, What You Do

Be sure to clearly state who you are and what you do. If you have a local service area, make that clear, too. You need to accomplish all that in a few scannable words.

If visitors land on your site and they can’t tell what you do and where you do it, they move on.

Make sure your home page answers these common questions:

  • What is your main product or service?
  • What can be found on your products and on your company itself on the website?
  • What is the main benefit for the visitor?

Highlight Your Value

There is a lot of information online. What makes you the right service for someone. Make this very clear.

It is not easy to be absolutely clear about what your company brings the customer, but it is essential if you want to convert a website hit to a lead or customer. Make sure your introductory content is about the key benefits you offer.

Don’t be vague or use buzzwords or hyperbole. Do be memorable and stand out. Offer easy to understand content that flows the visitor to where they want to be.

Make sure that your site comes across as trustworthy. Visitors want to know that you aren’t just trying to get them to subscribe to something they don’t want or give up personal information. Make your reputation and value clear. Testimonials, reviews, and client lists all help.

Offer Simple and Clear Navigation

Helping visitors get to the information they need is also essential. Make sure your navigation is easy to find and offers clear choices. Use the words your customer uses, not internal jargon for navigation labels.

Less is more when it comes to navigation. A general rule of thumb is no more than 7 options.

Guide the Visitor

Another purpose of your homepage is to guide your visitor to your best content and the items you know are most important to them. Here are some elements to use to help guide visitors.

  • A hero image is a large banner image, prominently placed on a web page, generally in the front and center. It often has a core message or offering and links to more information.
  • Sliders are similar but are a series of messages, and often links. These are harder for users, so they aren’t a great choice for all home pages.
  • Product and service call outs can offer brief explanations with links to more information.
  • Call to action buttons stand out from text with their often colored backgrounds and help users get to information with just a few words and a click.

Help People Connect

Contact information is also very valuable. Many sites offer this in the footer of the page so it is available at every page of the website. Let people call and email, give them the name of the person who they can connect with.

Make sure your home page is focused on the top one or two things visitors need. Help them get to your best information and services quickly and easily.

How to Structure Your Website for SEO

Site structure is an essential aspect of search engine optimization (SEO). The structure of your website shows Google and other search engines what articles and pages are most important. It also signals what your business is about and therefore which searches you should rank for.

Site structure also helps your users navigate your site. Especially when you have a lot of content, it’s important to keep an eye on the structure so that your most important content remains easy to find and access.

Keep the Most Important Front and Center

Your most important content should be the featured, easy to find content at your site. Even if this content is older than other information, make sure it does not lose prominence.

As you add new content, be sure to link to this foundational content. The more links that point to content, the more highly it is ranked by search and more likely users will access it.

Content that has one or a few internal links is harder for search engines to find. Therefore, Google will regard these articles as less important, and rank them accordingly.

Be Intentional About Usability

Visitors want to be able to find stuff on your website with ease. Your main navigation should give clear access to the information visitors need most. It should also reflect the structure of your site.

Usability means that users can easily find and access what they want most. They don’t have to guess through a series of navigation choices. Content is in HTML format (not PDF, Word, Excel, etc). And content is presented in a way that is easy to scan online.

In addition to the main navigation, use breadcrumb navigation. Breadcrumbs are important for user experience and SEO. They show how a page fits into the structure of your site and give users another way to easily navigate your site.

Focus Tags

If you have a blog, be mindful of the tags you create. If every post receives one or multiple new unique tag(s), you’re overdoing it. You’re not adding structure, because posts don’t become grouped or linked. Create tags that will help users (and search engines) find similar content.

 

Is Your Digital Home Base Worthy?

Your website is your digital home base. It is THE most important component of your digital marketing strategy. You need to make it great. Common website mistakes can take away from the effectiveness of your site.

Get the most out of your online presence by avoiding these common website problems.

Cluttered Home Page

Some home pages are stuffed with too much content. Visitors don’t know where to look. They don’t want to figure out the jumble.

Keep your homepage clean. Make every word count, and make sure they tell people who you are and why they want to learn more. Avoid adding unnecessary content or images.

Navigation is important too. Most people see this for the first time on the home page. Make sure the labels are easy to understand. Keep to no more than 7 major navigation options.

Complex Content

Make sure your website is easy to read and understand. Stick to a style sheet to limit the number of fonts and styles and create consistency from page to page.  Pages that look different can confuse visitors.

To help visitors scan and find what they want:

  • Use subheads with keywords
  • Keep words simple
  • Keep sentences short
  • Break up text into many short paragraphs

Unusable on the Small Screen

Most website designs are responsive, technically. Pay attention to the actual user experience on mobile devices.

The other day I was trying to research places to shop for a specific item. I did a google search and got several options. To narrow, I tried to visit the websites. I say “try” because none of the 5 sites was easy to navigate on my phone. I gave up!

Truly responsive websites adapt to the device type that the visitor uses. Keep your writing straightforward and make sure buttons and menus are large enough to click on smaller screens.